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Is Cannabis an Effective Treatment for Cancer Patients? 

Cannabis is getting increased attention as a form of medicine, in part due to the number of countries now legalizing it for medicinal (and sometimes recreational) purposes. There’s still a lot we don’t know and don’t understand about the drug, in part because it was demonized for such a long period of time, but our scientific understanding is growing, and the more we learn about it, the more positive benefits we seem to discover.

Dispensaries like BudBuddies.ca are now so common and convenient that if you live in a country with legalized cannabis, you can order cannabis online. That is, assuming, you have an underlying medical condition that allows you to consume it legally.

One of the most notable reasons for prescribing cannabis is cancer—but is cannabis truly an effective cancer treatment? If so, how does it work?

Cancer Symptom Management

There are some studies that suggest that cannabis has a positive effect on certain symptoms of cancer. For example:

Nausea and vomiting

Nausea

Cannabis is useful in reducing feelings of nausea and reducing susceptibility to vomiting. Some types of cancer produce these symptoms naturally. Even more importantly, some forms of cancer treatment (e.g., chemotherapy) produce these uncomfortable symptoms. Accordingly, many patients consume cannabis to relieve these symptoms.

Appetite

Some forms of cancer also make it difficult to have an appetite. You may feel reluctant to eat, or even feel disgusted at the sight of food. Cannabis consumption is shown to stimulate a healthy appetite, meaning it can help cancer patients get the food they need to stay strong.

Neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain

Other forms of cancer are associated with neuropathic pain—a specific type of pain caused by damaged nerves. Cannabis is shown to be helpful in treating this type of pain.

Chronic pain

In fact, cannabis is effective as an all-around reliever of pain. Cancer can be a very painful disease, depending on its location and its intensity. Cannabis can help manage these symptoms, and prevent the need for prescription painkillers (or at least reduce their consumption).

Slowing cancer growth

cancer

Certain isolated studies have shown that cannabis, when applied directly, may be able to slow the growth of certain types of tumors, and kill some cancer cells outright. However, there’s currently no evidence that smoking or consuming marijuana can help cancer patients curb the growth or spread of cancer in their own bodies.

The Complications

Unfortunately, there are some complicating factors holding cannabis back from being an effective, universal prescription for cancer patients:

Types of cancer

Colorectal Cancer

There are hundreds of types and subtypes of cancer, and each of them behaves a bit differently. It’s misleading to even suggest they all belong under the same umbrella term “cancer.” In fact, it’s one of the main reasons why we may never have a full-fledged cure for the disease. Understanding the interactions of cannabis with each of these different types of cancer is going to be a long and complicated effort.

Individual differences

Different people respond to cannabis in different ways, which means it isn’t going to work the same for everybody. This is especially true because many of the symptoms that cannabis can treat are somewhat subjective.People experience appetite loss and nausea in different ways.

Evidence

cancer

Cannabis research has been limited due to the drug’s controversial illegal status in most areas. The evidence we do have is mixed, and not necessarily applicable to all cases.For example, just because it effectively reduces the size of a tumor in a lab doesn’t mean it will work in a live patient.

Availability

Of course, we also need to acknowledge the issue that cannabis isn’t legalized (even for medicinal use) in many countries. This makes it hard to access as a cancer patient, and further restricts our study of the drug.

Are There Negative Effects?

marijuana

It’s also worth noting that there may be some negative effects of using marijuana, oftentimes depending on the user. For some people, marijuana is associated with loss of physical control and disorientation, or feelings of anxiety and paranoia. Smoking marijuana can also cause lung damage and distribute harmful substances similar to those found in tobacco smoke to the body. Though cannabis is not a particularly addictive substance, some users may grow to become unhealthily dependent on it.

So what’s the bottom line? Cannabis can be an effective treatment for some cancer patients in some situations.It has the capacity to reduce pain, improve appetite, and reduce feelings of nausea, but it remains to be seen whether cannabis can, in any way, limit the growth or spread of cancer itself. We need to devote more time and research to understanding the effects of cannabis on the mind and body, and until we do, we’re still going to be somewhat in the dark.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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Dr Prem Jagyasi (c)

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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